February 1, 2023

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement welcomes the announcement by the Australian government today to introduce sanctions against 21 senior military and political leaders and two military-owned entities in Myanmar. 

Since the military launched a coup on 1 February 2021, the people of Myanmar have faced immense suffering. More than 2,900 people have been killed, and more than 17,000 people have been illegally detained, and in some cases, tortured.  

The country has been plunged into poverty. Myanmar’s GDP dropped 18% in the first year after the coup, and 40% of the population now lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank. In December, the United Nations estimated that 17.6 million people require humanitarian assistance. 

It was clear from the first week of the coup that the vast majority of Myanmar’s 54 million people totally rejected military rule. A wave of protests erupted across the country, demanding the return of their fledgling democratic government. Since then, the democratic movement has been calling on international governments to impose sanctions on top military generals and military owned businesses. 

Kate Lee, Executive Officer of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA said: 

“Congratulations to the Albanese government for introducing these targeted sanctions which will join those imposed by the US, UK and EU to further isolate the Myanmar junta.  

“This illegal administration in Myanmar launched the biggest hit on the Myanmar economy on the day of the coup, two years ago. On that day, it imposed immediate economic hardship on its people by withdrawing the country from the global economy. The junta itself is responsible for crushing its people, not government’s that impose these sanctions.  

“We welcome this announcement and we look forward to the Australian government escalating the pressure on the Myanmar junta with further sanctions which are urgently needed. It is clear the people of Myanmar want to return the country to civilian rule, we must stand by them and isolate the regime”. 

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